Comparing Barbie Dolls And G. I. Joe Action Figures

1554 Words 7 Pages
Children are like wet clay, easily molded and shaped, and the messages that we convey to are crucial to their early development, such as the very toys that they play with. Most parents associate young boys with action figures while most girls are commonly associated with dolls, but this begs the question, what is the difference between a doll and an action figure? I went to Walmart to compare two different toys, Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe action figures to see the differences and the possible effects that it could have on children. Upon entering Walmart, I noticed that there was a lack of ethnic diversity in both the customers and the employees. A majority of the people in the store were Caucasian, and from what I could tell, the customers …show more content…
Joe action figures only took up a single shelf, but even with such a small sample to base my observations off of, the difference between the two toys was very apparent. These toys were much more masculine, but just as stereotypical as the Barbies. For one, the doll that I analyzed was a Caucasian man with his right hand held up high, next to a van that had a machine gun mounted on it. The stance that the man was taking asserts dominance, which vastly contrasts with the Barbies because the Barbies had poses that were much more welcoming. The man is much more built and rigid, not like the elegance and fragility of the Barbies. Even the background of the package was different because behind the G.I. Joe doll was a chaotic scenery of destruction and war, as opposed to the Barbie dolls which is just a single plain color wallpaper. This contrast explains why boys tend to act more violent and why young girls are thought of as timid and shy. The last subtle difference that I noticed was the facial expression between the two toys. The characteristic of the toy can be described as rugged, especially with the mustache that the action figure has, since facial hair is seen as something “manly”, and those without it are perceived as young and inexperienced. This reflects the standards that society has of the two gender roles; women are expected to be more emotional while men are expected to be more level headed, how men are the protectors of women and reinforces the stigma that women are weak, helpless, and vulnerable. To further support this claim, there were no female soldiers, even though G.I. Janes exist, a female counterpart to G.I. Joes, they are much more

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